2009-04-02 / Front Page

Kids Find Lots To Do At The Library

Programs nurture lifelong reading
By Lindsay R. Mellott STAFF WRITER

Licensed veterinarian technician Friday Dyar shows, from left, Lily Schriever, Cara Bishop and Hannah Williams "Precious,'' a Jack Russell terrier, at last Thursday's Family Place workshop in Needmore. Licensed veterinarian technician Friday Dyar shows, from left, Lily Schriever, Cara Bishop and Hannah Williams "Precious,'' a Jack Russell terrier, at last Thursday's Family Place workshop in Needmore. The renovation project that will enlarge the Fulton County Library and give the building a whole new look inside and out has sent the library's collection of books to the ground floor community room for the next few months.

Even in its cramped temporrary quarters downstairs, the library is still conducting business as usual, however. Nowhere is that more evident than with the library's children's programs, which provide Fulton County's young readers with plenty to do.

Here's a sampling:

Family Place workshops

Last Thursday 14 adults and 18 children gathered in the the community room of Tower Bank's branch office in Needmore to attend a Family Place workshop featuring Needmore veterinarian Lisa Doherty, who spoke to the adults about pets and kids while children's librarian Linda Burton kept the youngsters busy with toys and books.

Linda Burton, children's librarian, plays with Noah Williams, Liam Mac- Donald and Ryan Busch. Linda Burton, children's librarian, plays with Noah Williams, Liam Mac- Donald and Ryan Busch. Fulton County's library was designated a Family Place Library in 2006 and is one of more than 220 sites in 24 states that make up Family Place Libraries, a network of children's librarians nationwide who believe that literacy begins at birth, and that libraries can help build healthy communities by nourishing healthy families.

The parent/child workshop is a core component of Family Place libraries. Workshops are offered once a week for five weeks to children and their parents or caregivers and feature local professionals who serve as resources for parents. They emphasize the role of parents as the first teachers of their children, facilitate early intervention and teach strategies for healthy child development and early literacy.

Burton offers the series of five workshops twice in the spring and once in the fall, either in October or November. The workshops usually take place at the McConnellsburg library, she said, but have been moved to Needmore during the renovation project.

The last workshop in this series happens April 3, Burton said. The topic basic first aid, including infant CPR, will be presented by certified Red Cross instructor Hope Moore.

A new series of workshops begins April 17 with Lori Hansroth of the Penn State Extension Office talking about composting. It will be followed April 24 with a dental health workshop presented by the Fulton County Partnership's Family Dental Clinic. On May 1, Fulton County Conservation District's Greg Reinke will discuss recycling, on May 8 Fulton County Medical Center dietitian Cathy Snyder will address family nutrition and Gina Knepper will conclude the spring workshops with a program about gardening on May 15.

Burton says the workshops, which begin at 10:30 a.m., are informal and parents are free to tend to their children if need be. Storyhours

Storyhours are held every week from September to May and take place at the Hustontown branch library on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m., in McConnellsburg on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and at the Needmore community room on Thursdays at 11 a.m.

After reading a book to the kids, Burton does a craft with them,s and they get a snack. "We read, we sing, we dance, said Burton. "Sometimes we put on little plays."

Next week's storyhour will be spent making bunny baskets to use at an Easter egg hunt Burton has planned for the following week.

Summer reading program

This year's summer reading program - Be Creative at Your Library - begins June 19 at 10 a.m. The program kickoff will be held at the old high school in Mc- Connellsburg and will feature The Cat's Pajama's, a high-energy singing group for children. Open to children of all ages, the summer program will run through the first week of August and is held once a week in Hustontown, McConnellsburg and Needmore.

Reading over the summer months is the primary focus and Burton encourages that by keeping a record of the books each child reads. When the program ends, every child, no matter how many books have been read, gets a prize.

Crafts and snacks are also part of each week's activities.

Last year, Burton said, 160 children participated in the summer reading program.

Visiting authors

From time to time children's authors stop by the library to talk with young readers about the books they have written. On May 14, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., illustrator Wendell Minor and his wife and author, Florence, will be at the Fulton Theatre with their latest book for kids, "If You Were a Penguin."

The library, Burton said, will give free soft-cover copies of "If You Were a Penguin" to the first 60 families that come to hear what the Minors have to say about reading, books and penguins.

The Minors' visit here, according to Burton, has been made possible by the Pennsylvania One Book, Every Young Child initiative.

"The success of these programs (Family Place workshops, storyhours and summer reading program)," Burton said, "is due to the parents who really support and have an interest in their community library."

That support is confirmed by the numbers of children and parents taking part in the library's programs: 2,591 children and 1,652 of their parents or caregivers participated in 160 planned activities in 2008.

The adults at last week's workshop, some of whom brought children from as far as Little Cove and Crystal Spring, credit the success of children's programming at the library to Burton and her boundless enthusiasm for her work.

Melanie Hixon of Hancock, who brought her son, daughter and niece, said, "I just love it so much. Linda does a great job!"

Lauren Mosemann of Warfordsburg said her 4-year-old son, Tyler, enjoys storyhours because it gives him his own library time like his sister gets at school.

Burton is planning new programs, one of which - an innergenerational storytime with residents of the extended care unit at the Medical Center - gets under way in May. She also hopes to eventually add a program for 8- to 12-year-old girls incorporating the popular series of "American Girl" books.

Head librarian Jamie Brambley says the library's annual budget places a lot of emphasis on children's programming.

"I think it's one of the most import aspects of what we are doing here and in the community," Brambley said. The result, she said, is "lifelong learners and lifelong readers."

Brambley reminds library patrons to use the rear entrance to the building during the renovation, which is expected to be finished in early August. Visitors to the children's library must use the rear entrance as well.

Family Place Libraries initiative is a national project cosponsored by Libraries for the Future and MiddleCountry Public Library and funded through a Commonwealth Libraries LST grant.

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